Interview with YL Summit Team


On February 22-23, 2013 there will be a new youth ministry conference in town – it’s called the Youth Leader’s Summit.  I’m stoked about this event! I had the chance to sit down with the team and get some info.

What is the Youth Leader’s Summit?

Youth Leaders Summit (YLS) exists to Encourage, Equip, and Empower those who work with Students. It is a conference for your entire youth ministry team, whether you are paid, unpaid, volunteers, interns, new to ministry, or a ministry veteran, this is the conference for you. Austin Walker had a wild and crazy dream five years ago to have a conference that had the bells and whistles of other conferences with an added focus on connection to other youth workers for encouragement and resources. Youth Leaders Summit was born out of Austin’s desire to impact the world for Jesus. He believes that each of us, as individuals, has the ability to truly disciple about 12 students at a time, following the example of Jesus. YLS was created with the dream in mind to uplift youth leaders in three ways. The first is by encouraging them that what they do for God has incredible value. Next, to equip youth workers with tools and ideas to more effectively disciple students. Finally, it is important to empower them to take those tools and use them to the best of their abilities for God’s glory that the world would be forever changed. The model was taken one step further by desiring to connect youth workers to one another for regular fellowship and providing a place to share programming ideas and resources allowing each to be as effective as possible at discipling students so that millions will be reached.

The connection within and outside the conference itself sounds great – but how will you accomplish that?

Social media will be a huge resource.  We’ll use a ton of avenues of social media to keep connected.  We are also going to try to meet up in person by region.  In addition to those we’re going to use our webinar platform to communicate with Summit attendees.  We’ll keep up with periodic e-mails and see how you’re doing, too.  And if that’s not enough – we’re going to give out all of our contact info – we want to be available year-round to youth workers when they need it.

So….who are you?

We are youth workers, either currently or previously. (All the bios for the speakers are on the website We have a passion for Jesus, a passion for students, and a passion for transforming students’ lives for the glory of God. We believe that there are things that have worked in the programs that we have studied and implemented and want to share that expertise with others.

We also make it a point to have fun while we do all of those things!! We love to laugh with and at each other (usually at each other).

You like to laugh? Do you guys pull a lot of pranks on each other?

We don’t do many elaborate pranks or anything that involves too much work…but we do really like scaring each other   Oh, we also throw dodgeballs at each other when we walk through doors…we like to have fun!

Click Here for a sample of the YL Summit team’s scaring fun! 

Please note that I (Tom) encouraged Austin and the gang to pop out and scare all of the YL Summit attendees frequently – it would make the event fun and terrifying! 

Why should I go to YLS? There are a ton of other good conferences (SYMC, Orange, NYWC, etc) and my budget only allows for one conference a year. 

These are great conferences! However, they are quite expensive, time-consuming, and tend to be impersonal. YLS is going to offer great things, including high quality worship and messages, but we are really focused on connecting youth workers with one another for one common goal – to reach students for Jesus Christ. YLS doesn’t have a publishing company, or a curriculum line attached to it. Rather, we are focused solely on the execution of effective relationships with students and programming for students. We understand that there are financial constraints attached to what we, as youth workers, can do as far as continuing education. It is our desire that no one be turned away from YLS, which is why we have started our pricing so low.

Discounts are also offered in order to make it work financially for as many people as possible. We want to help anyone who works with students on any level to create lasting connections on a higher level of effectiveness together.

I love free stuff. Will there be freebies?

There will be freebies at each of our big group sessions and many of our breakout sessions.

Austin – what’s the funniest face you can make?


That’s an epic face. Okay…back on topic. Okay…this all sound great, but…why Minnesota? Why February?

Well it’s my (Austin) home base.  I’m from here and I can network here with some of my existing resources.  The YL Summit definitely has the capacity to expand with time, but we had to start somewhere, so why not home? We chose February because the spring just gets really busy with planning our summer programs and everything else going on. Any later than February is tough too, because there are so many conflicting spring breaks.  If we waited until fall then we would be competing with a lot of other established conferences.  Plus it’s the new year and we all have shiny new budgets and funding for continuing education.

Awesome stuff, guys.  When is your next FREE webinar? 

January 17th at 8PM CT.  We’ll be discussing the topic, “When Tragedy Strikes”.  With national events like Newtown this is a really important topic to cover.  We’ve personally had a ton of tragedy in our Church this year, too.  We just want to discuss some healthy ways to handle tragedy when it happens. The best part? It’s totally free! Click here to sign up!

Thanks guys! 

Make sure you check out the YL Summit this year! You don’t want to miss it! 

Our Contact Information



Phone: 651-300-4YLS (4957)

Social Media:

Find us on Facebook: YouthLeadersSummit

Follow us on Twitter: @YLSUMMIT

Follow us on Pinterest: YLSUMMIT

Follow us on Instagram: YLSUMMIT

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